Ireland’s Guide To Money And Living

Check-in for China


Thinking about taking a trip to China this year? We might have something of interest – return flights from Dublin to Shenyang or Harbin for €371, flying with KLM and Air France.

Once you’re over there, there’s plenty to do and see:

1 – Catch a glimpse of North Korea

The city of Dandong is a three-hour drive from Shenyang, and attracts tourists because of its proximity to North Korea, which lies just across the Yalu River. It’s possible to take a speedboat that will bring you without several metres of the North Korean side of the river, while the Hushan Great Wall is also a great spot for taking a peek at the secretive state – invest in a pair of binoculars and you’ll be able to see into the country for miles.

2 – Take in Harbin’s Sophia Square

The city of Harbin, located in the northeastern Heilongjiang province, is notable for its blend of Chinese and European architecture. The Saint Sophia Cathedral, located in Sophia Square, is a great example – a beautiful Russian Orthodox church built following the arrival of the Russian Army after the Russo-Japanese War. The cathedral now houses the Municipal Architecture and Museum, which tracks the development of the city through the ages.

3 – Jinzhou jaunt

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The city of Jinzhou was the site of one of the final battles of the Liaoshen Campaign during the Chinese Civil War, which saw the People’s Liberation Army clashing with the Nationalist Government. If you’re into your history, stop by the Liaoshen Campaign Memorial, a museum with over 16,000 pieces of equipment used during the campaign, alongside thousands of photos and documents.

While you’re there, take a trip to the Guangji Pagoda, a 72-metre tower in Guta Park at the centre of the city, with a quiet temple nestled beneath (no charge for admission onto the temple’s grounds).

4 – Check out Changchun

Located roughly half-way between Shenyang and Harbin, Changchun is the capital city of the Jilin Province and one of four National Garden Cities. Famous for its contribution to China’s film and automotive industries, the Changchun Film Studio Museum and the Changchun Automotive Cultural Park are well worth the visit, as is the Bo Re Temple and the Puppet Manchurian Palace Museum. If you’re a fan of nature, a trip to the Diaoshuihu Scenic Area roughly 90km away is a must – a beautiful region filled with mountains, lakes, waterfalls, caves and forests.

5 – Bounce to Beijing

A short seven-hour drive from Shenyang (4.5 hours by train), China’s capital is home to more than 21.5 million people and nothing short of an exhaustive list of sights. You won’t want to miss the Forbidden City, the Chinese Imperial Palace from 1420 to 1912 and home to the fantastic Palace Museum; the Temple of Heaven, a complex of medieval religious buildings first built more than 600 years ago; Peking University, renowned for its campus grounds and architecture; and Tiananmen Square, on which the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 took place.

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Check out for a list of available travel dates.


When not writing about all things personal finance, You & Your Money's editor Conor Forrest enjoys reading, football and getting lost in an ocean of Wikipedia articles.